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  #316  
Old Sep 17th, 2022, 01:16 PM
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I don't know how I held off on this for so long. Folks, we've gotta talk about "The Peacock" of my main campaign's party. It's not one specific thing that happened, and not necessarily anything that's screwed over the party. But this guy... he's something else.

Context. A few of my online buddies have been playing D&D 5e on-and-off for a couple years. Because the GM is in college, we've had months-long hiatuses which I like to call "seasons". We've had a fourth or fifth player rotate in and out -- the fourth being the same player who gets to join or leave the game based on his work schedule, and fifth slot taken by folks who stick around for a few sessions. But consistently? The party has been my A lion-like Tabaxi Monk (Way of the Four Elements, specializing in fire spells)... also my avatar characterRaziya, my buddy Piano and his Drow Rogue (Arcane Trickster) and the veritable "main character" of the campaign, given our group dynamic and Piano actively engaging in the DM's plotQilue... and this butthead, Raven and his Cassius.

Cassius is a Rogue (Thief). Yes, we have two Rogues in the party. Both are from the same Thieves' Guild in the region, with Cassius apparently being a new recruit. While many apparently pronounce the name "cass-ee-us", he pronounced it "cah-see-us". That's not a bad thing, personally -- I'm not even 100% sure my character is pronounce "rah-zee-uh", and I've heard "razz-ee-uh" before. Funny coincidence, now that I think of it, because Raven's been in the campaign longer than I have. Anywho. Of the three static players, Raziya is the only one who has a Good alignment. Because her morality surpass her ethics more often than not, and she tends to look the other way when either Rogue does larceny, I did shift Raziya's alignment from Lawful Good to Neutral Good.

Back on topic. All you fellow d20-slinging dorks know the memes of Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Stupid alignments, right? Cassius is absolutely Chaotic Stupid. As if playing to the perfect definition of his archetype, Cassius is a kleptomaniac that steals just about anything everywhere we go. And usually not useful stuff, either. As a matter of fact, many town sessions have at least one moment where Cassius goes out to steal stuff. He does have a running alcohol collection, but during the game he's taken and coveted a few useless things of note, including...

- Arrows which he dipped into the sewer in an attempt to In his words, and I quote with censoring, "$#@% arrows"infect his enemies
- A clump of grass when we investigated an abandoned farm
- A bar of soap from our home base town's inn, which the innkeep knew he filched and warned Qilue that his stealing wouldn't go unpunished
- A second bar of soap from that same inn, which got his pinky cut off in a dramatic trick by the barkeep who learned he was stealing
- Coveted the grandfather clock at our fourth player's family's He played a Halfling Fighter (Battle Master) at the time, whose family owned and ran the most prolific and beloved brewery in the regionliving room, with elaborate schemes that never came to fruition
- Tried to steal a stray cat who had found and was nibbling on his severed finger
- Coveting As the name says; only seven exist, each revolving around one of the Seven Deadlies, and the only "easy" way to get another is to kill a card's owner and take it yourself"Get Out Of Death Free Cards" from other owners, with his gained from a carnival in the Feywild that I missed

So why is Cassius called The Peacock? His character reference is a very flamboyant nobleman illustration, dressed in vibrant blues and greens. It's a nickname that Piano came up with in-character as Qilue. There is a running gag that Qilue was assigned to oversee Cassius to make sure he doesn't become a liability to their Thieves' Guild. Facing off against the first Big Bad of the campaign -- a powerful druid who wants to eliminate all sapient life in the world notwithstanding, because she's been a mostly-quiet menace and has only popped up twice in the campaign so far -- this fact was confirmed. Helped that said Big Bad was a corrupt Monk under the Way of Shadows who was not only undermining and extorting the region's businesses (such as the Fighter's brewery), but was also trying to extort and control the Thieves' Guild too.

Every now and then, Cassius is rightly cool. His player usually has him fight in a guerilla style, slipping in with his Reflavored rapiercutlass and slipping out with Cunning Action. It's a rough fight if Cassius drops; he's the polar opposite from Raziya because she almost always gets KO'd in every fight we get into. When we had an epic final battle against the Bad Bad Monk, who calls himself Redbeard, he actually got to use one of his "collected" beer bottles in a cool turn. After we'd planned to assassinate Redbeard using a literal violently-upchucking poison called Dragon's Breath, he somehow survived and fled, leading us into to a church he and his best mercs overran. Normally this poison would be so gruesomely potent, it could even kill someone with poison resistance or immunity (such as a 10th-level Monk).

During the fight, Qilue was not only KO'd by Redbeard but, given his cruel nature and the fact he was in the midst of Flurry of Blows, used his remaining attacks to coup de grace her. Against his fellows, who were dropping faster and faster (helped that Raziya was fuming to avenge her friend, and so was our naive Eldritch Knight NPC buddy), Cassius chucked one of his beer bottles and hit. The exchange between the half-orc barbarian and the peacock went as follows...

MERC: "Just a flesh wound. Just a medal".
CASSIUS: "Well, if you want another... >:3" *throws dagger and rolls high on damage*

Oh yeah. Did I mention that Raven uses a "smug noble" or "stereotypical rich dude" voice for Cassius? Because he does. And it's awesome.

One last bit of Cassius fun for now. There was a point where Raziya was down in the dumps, saw that Cassius was getting ready to break-and-enter into someone's house, and asked if she (who he commonly calls "kitty cat") wanted to join in. I had Raziya snap, with the intent to kick his butt. Instead of the usual "Cassius steals stuff" scene for the session, we had a "Raziya wants to punch Cassius and chases him across town before he finally gets away" montage. We roleplayed it, using Athletics and Stealth checks and everything. It was great. This happened after Cassius lost his finger, and chased the cat who was nibbling on it to try and kidnap it.

Sometimes you chase a cat. Sometimes a cat chases you.

I think I have a parody picture I threw together on Photoshop featuring Cassius. Something to the effect of the "Yoshi commits tax fraud" meme, but with the group's beloved scoundrel. If I can track down the old image, I'll post it here.
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Last edited by Seeks; Sep 17th, 2022 at 01:20 PM.
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  #317  
Old Jan 6th, 2023, 03:48 PM
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The game: Pathfinder 2.
My character: Lynnette, the Gnome Swashbuckler

This campaign has been going on for a little over a year in real time. About 6 months ago, our characters drove out a branch of an evil cult out of small rural town, after which point we declared "Welp, that's that!" and promptly left town.

The evil cult runs the entire continent. They are the only people who can legally use magic. They've effectively Theoden'd the king and they control all but one town.

We burned down one temple, drove out the head priest (who is very much alive and very aware of who we are), declared "hooray, now the cult doesn't control TWO towns!" and then left.

We came back to find an entire army led by cult priests, bolstered by scores of undead, headed back to the town, led by the priest we kicked out, prepared to teach that small village a lesson. Whoops!

Our team, being smaller than an army, makes it back to the town first. We rush to craft defenses and try to train the villagers in combat. We are also met by a slew of the sidequests we ignored the last time we were here, which have since become more serious. (As in, "a parasitic monster is piloting the corpse of the richest man in town, living in his house, growing a horrible cocoon of meat in the basement because the last time we were here we didn't fully kill it when it was in a different corpse" serious. Y'know, the usual.) We had time to fix the most serious of these problems (and perhaps someday I shall share the woeful tale of Lieutenant Diggory Shovelhands, the shovel-handed wooden golem we purchsed to dig trenches for the town's defense but ended up heroically perishing in the fight against the aforementioned parasitic monster, inspiring the creation of a new holiday called Saint Shovel's Day).

Finally, our DM decides to move things along with what he probably expects to be a bit of player character development as well as a chance to save ourselves from more combat: The cult's army, who has been camped about a mile out of town, surrounding us on three sides, sends an emissary to negotiate.

The emissary is described as a hulking man in blue cult robes, being carried on a palanquin by a group of zombies. He wears a golden mask in the shape of a wolf's head.

We know him only as The Wolf. He is one of the Cult's elite warrior group known as The Hounds. We have serious beef with several of these hounds, and one player has reason to fear and despise the Wolf in particular: The player has no memory of his past, except that his current body is not his own, and that the Wolf originally murdered him.

Our DM smiles, anticipating the fantastic drama and moral choices we'll be faced with now. Will we negotiate surrender of the town to save the villagers' lives? Will the player character demand answers about his murder?

The player character in question is currently outside the town walls with one other PC. The rest of us are inside the walls preparing defenses.

The Wolf asks to be let inside to parley with the mayor. The murdered player says nothing. The air of tension is so thick it could be cut with a knife.

"Oh!" I say suddenly, getting a really great idea that won't backfire at all. "Can the people inside the town walls see what's going on out there?"

"I'd say so," the DM responds. "There's guards on the walls."

"Great! What if we move a cannon right behind the gate so when the Wolf opens the door he gets shot point-blank, Bugs Bunny style?" I say, instantly forgetting that this interaction might be really important to the PC whose backstory involved the Wolf.

"Nice!" says the aforementioned PC. "I mean, we're gonna fight the army anyway. It's not like we're actually gonna surrender."

The poor DM aims a thousand-yard stare at the center of the table as we describe how we write "We Respectfully Decline Your Offer" on a cannonball and yell "No solicitors!" as The Wolf opens the door to come face-to-face with the business end of a cannon.

Miraculously, he survives.

The session ends there.

"So how badly did we just screw up?" a player asks the DM.

The DM laughs.

"Oh, you guys just screwed up bad. See you next week!"

I feel like this could be a problem.
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